Saturday, 26 October 2019

Engineering

Who else here is in engineering?  Not the kind with hard hats and a clipboard, nor the sort where you have a van and go to peoples houses to do shit.  No, I'm on about Precision Engineering, with milling machines, lathes, pillar drills and swarf in your shoes.

   It may or may not be true, but I got the impression that England, as well as being a nation of seafarers and shopkeepers, were also a bit keen on Engineering, what with our history and all.

I have been in this trade since I left school so know a bit.  I currently work at a company who are world renowned for their product in their particular field.  Alas, Once you see how this product is made, you wouldn't waste your money.

I'm not saying what I do is a load of codswallop, far from it,  I take pride in my work but I'm surrounded by an infrastructure and such a backward attitude, that I can only determine that if they were a subcon firm, they would' have gone to the wall years ago.

This is very frustrating for someone in my position.  All our milling machines are Bridgeports, with the newest being a good decade old, and the oldest has to be late '80s, with the tool room in particular being in possession of an Interact Mk1, which I am led to believe was the 1st milling machine to be bought by one of the Directors.  Still, why would you still have such a machine being used?  From a technical aspect, its slow, not fit for purpose.  It doesn't have a coolant pump for starters, so you're cutting metal dry.  It can not hold programs in its memory either.  Mind you, the bloke who uses it has only just starting learning to program but even on a manual mill, couldn't machine anything to 90 degrees if he tried.

Meanwhile, in the machine shop, our plant list has various issues.  One machine can't hold a stable Z.  One can't hold more than 7000 lines of program, period.  Another leaks slideway oil in to the coolant.  Another rapids at about 5 metres a minute, while another one stops mid program because it decides not to read an M99, despite it being a running and proven program.  Another machine also likes to delete numbers from lines in a program and add numbers to other lines upon being sent out of the machine.

We use a program transfer system called Seiki Systems, and that isn't without it's problems either, as I'm sure others will attest to. 

Upon all our requests to have these things sorted, The company is loyal to one maintenance guy.  Yes, ONE.  If said guy is on holiday, we wait till he comes back.  WTAF?  That's if he bothers to fix the problem at all.  We get told there's nothing wrong with the machine or to live with it.  What kind of attitude is that?  Especially one of a multi million pound company with it's own product.

Above all that, they employ idiots and if the rumours are to be believed, they want to have only 1 or 2 skilled men, with the rest being idiots.  A colleague and I work with a couple of these less skilled people and I'll tell you for free, they do not produce a quality finished item as most days we end up mopping up after them to get the jobs out the door.  One day very soon, I'm just gonna leave their parts to one side and let them know they have to try harder or go through them again,

Payrise.  We got a payrise, which I appreciate, because I bet not every other firm was giving out payrises, but I got the same size payrise as another bloke who scraps jobs frequently, the same size as another one who runs less machinery and spends all his time on his phone in the toilet, so one can understand my frustration.

The company loves a yes man, which I am not.  They don't want to hear their idea is crap or that it will take longer than they want, they want 3 bags full Sir all the way.

Anyway, I can program in Heidenhain and Fanuc, I have experience using Fusion 360 and Featuremill for 3D milling, Nikken 4th Axis units and Fanuc horizontal mills.  I am also a certified Mitutoyo CMM user, with experience in programming and running said CMMs using MiCat.  I also have a little experience in using Mitsubishi EDMs.  I'm based in the Portsmouth area, y'know, just in case anyone is interested....

Oh yeah, I can do a bit of manual turning too.

Sunday, 22 September 2019

It's been a while

So what have I been up to?

Well, Went to a friends wedding in May.  Oop North, well, the Midlands, Which to us down here, is almost Scotland.  I wasn't best man, but as we've been friends for a quarter of a century, I was asked to do a speech.  Great, except it wasn't.  I had it all planned out in my head, but the room was so hot, it made me feel quite ill, which made me forget the majority of what I was to say.  I got the first bit, then forgot the rest and ended up talking a right load of codswallop, and that's when I thought I would shut my face and sit back down.  I think the bride hates me.

Been DIY-ing

I sold my Off Road motorbike.  I found out early in the year I have osteoarthritis in my right foot.  This made starting the bike quite difficult as it was a kickstart only machine.  On the lookout for another with electric start.

Still RC racing and still driving for those top chaps at Answer RC.  Mixed bag of results lately.

Organised a Vintage RC meet at TORCH back in August.  Actual meeting went well, and we had a damn good day.  Only disappointment was the attendance.  Turns out a lot of racers are all mouth and no trousers.

Been DIY-ing, still.

Got a letter from the council.  Turns out my elderly neighbours don't like me playing music too loud.  Knock on my door first and ask me turn it down?  don't be silly.  So I've had to tiptoe around that bastard for a couple of months so far till the fuss dies down.  I'm gonna mount speakers brackets on acoustic board and change walls, just to keep the peace, if you pardon the pun.

Work sucks.  Feeling unappreciated.  Mine is a trade that requires years of knowledge, without it, parts look shit or end up wrong.  Those in charge think we're all just button nuggets, but whenever there's a prototype to be made, muggins here ends up doing it with not a single "well done" at the end.

Still DIY-ing.

Lei and I went to Torture Garden back in August, or July.  I put pics up on my Instagram, lost 5 followers overnight. HA.

That is all.

Watch out for my new book out soon, and I'm doing a documentary for Discovery Channel about transdimensional gateways and stargates which is out next year.  I'll also be on the Graham Norton Show bangin on about my book and talking shit, that will be just before christmas.

tatty bye

Monday, 4 March 2019

Bump ups, batteries, and bad news

It's been a while since my last racing blog.  Mostly as it's been a while since I was in "the zone" for racing.

Anyway, with my engine shatting its conrod at Slough SRS last year and the subsequent purchase of a new engine, which admittedly sat in its box for a while as I took time to do stuff, which I can't think for the life of me what, I thought it best to get the thing ran in and turning wheels.

The last weekend of February saw me attend the penultimate round of South Coast RCs Winter Fandango series, wearing shorts.  yes, that weekend.

So, still pedaling the SWorkz Evo 2 while I wait for new hardware.  It's now Orion Crf/HB powered and ready to be tweaked as the day goes on.

With only 19 or so in attendance, I found myself in Heat 1, so off I go.  With my engine still running quite rich, I fail to finish the 1st two rounds of qualifying as I ran out of fuel about 20 seconds before the end.  However, rather safe than sorry, at least I know it's getting a fighting chance of being ran in with a little bit of finesse instead the touch of Fred West.

Come Finals time and I'm 4th in the C.  Not exactly the best I know, but it's a new engine and I hadn't nitro'd since the Steve and Bernie Memorial race.  With Mark Harding doing me the honour of pitting for me, and an increasingly tense battle with a bloke called Pete I believe.  It all comes down to the last lap or two, and after lots of passing and passing back, Petes chances of making a return pass in the dying seconds fall short as he runs out of fuel, leaving me to breath easy and take the win, and thus, the bump up.

Last (7th) on the grid for the B and pitting for me now is, erm, wossis name, y'know, Future World Models shop guy.  Sorry if I've forgotten your name, anyway, him.
The flag goes up and I make a blinder of a start, and 2 or 3 laps in I'm 2nd.  Then, the announcement for everyone to go back to pitlane.  The timing computer has spazzed out so a restart is on order.

With the restart underway after a fashion, I get a clean start but get whacked on the way down and left for dead after the triple, 1 corner in.  So dead last again after that fiasco.  I make my way up to 3rd by the end of the 15 minutes.  I was quite pleased with that.  Not sure how much better it could've gone, but it could've gone the other way.

A week later, the 3rd of March and I have a stinking cold and it's pissing down with rain.  I'm track bound again, this time the SWorkz S12-m gets a go.  From 1/8th nitro to 1/10th 2wd.  The destination is the last round of TORCH' indoor winter jest fest, held at Swanmore Sports College.



I take one look at the track and wonder how the hell I'm going to drive that.  Looks can be deceiving and I instantly found my feet.  The track was the best of the series, with lots of little details to keep one occupied, including the 4 fingers, the radius jumps and the lino.  I was once again in heat one during qualifying, which I appeared to dominate, with 3 wins out of 4. The last of which was taken by a returning Christian Minter, driving hard.

I'm on pole for the less than glamourous D Final.  Mustn't grumble though, someone has to be.  With messyrs Minter and Mallard behind me, I predict a challenge coming my way.  Christian gives me a run for my money for a few laps but he gives me some breathing space when he makes an error, I check out, lap back markers and take leg 1 win.

Leg 2 is a carbon copy of leg 1 but leg 3 is where it fell apart, folding like a cheap hooker bending down for a twenty.  After a false start where Christian and I were already at the four fingers when the tone went, we lined up for a restart.  Mr Minter wanted this one and on the restart, my car got hit and spun round till I was dead last, and anyone who has ever done RC knows that once that happens in a 5 minute race, it's hard to make that up.

I gave chase and began to make up ground, but I couldn't quite find the rhythm I felt with the rest of the day making errors shortly after making a pass or getting whacked by back markers.  It was mostly all there toward the end though as I had made it to 2nd place and in the dying laps, I made a move on Christian over the double, but the car went up at an angle I wasn't planning on and it hit the track marking head on with a thud and Christian fucked off into the distance to take the leg 3 win. 

I took the over all win though which was nice.  Julian Mallard later cursed me for losing the last leg, as if I had beaten Christian again, he would have got 2nd, instead of the over all 3rd.

I was there with the stepson, and he was also racing, unfortunately, the wheel spring on his radio broke meaning he had no steering centre so he missed out on his Finals.

We were very appreciative though when International and National racing Legend Lee Martin and his fellow Nemo Racing mate, gave us half dozen sets of wheels and tyres, presumably having only done one run each.  Muchos Gracias guys.

So that was that.

Except on the Monday after South Coast, I got the news first hand that a good friend of ours had died suddenly.  Dianne Noble, other half of Bigz.  Had fallen foul of a horrible chain of events beginning with a cold and ending in multiple heart attacks.  We spent lots of time with Dianne and Bigz, Weekends at Brands Hatch, breakfast runs, and runs out on bikes, having known them both since 2002.  She was a lovely person and I'll always remember the lardy cakes she brought over for me when my Mum died.  RIP Dianne, you will be missed.


Friday, 7 December 2018

Driving standards Pt 1

Ok, it's been a while since I posted and although this is setting out to be a rant, I need to get it off my chest as I'm sick to the back teeth of shit road users. 

We all make the odd faux pas here and there and I'm not claiming to be perfect or know every bit of the highway code but there is a part of me that wonders how some of these imbeciles got a license in the first place or aren't dead (yet).

Let's start with the urban and country scourge known as The Cyclist.  Not all of them, but a select few who must be suffering suffocation as the air supply is blocked off by the lycra round their neck and their head up their arse.

Firstly, riding in groups and using up ALL the fucking road, at 15mph.  No matter if it's through urban streets with frigging traffic calming bollards at spaced intervals so you can't get past, or in the sticks, on a single track lane, where, you can't get past.  These bastards have no road sense or regard for other road users, and if you do try and pass them, you get a torrent of abuse.

Now, I ride a pushbike, but not like this.  Whatever happened to the highway code rule of cyclists having to ride in single file?  I've not read it for a while so don't know.  I do have a copy that is only a couple of years old so maybe I should have a look, but it surely doesn't give these gits total permission to do as they please. They think they're on a par with Lance fucking Armstrong, not likely, you're in a little club riding around getting in peoples way in the real world, on public roads, not a closed road in a televised event.....have a word with yourself.  Those of us on motorbikes are continually lambasted for riding quick, or being noisy, or dangerous, antisocial, blah blah blah, but we actually took a test and pay a pretty penny for the privilege, unlike you.

The other thing about cyclists which angers me greatly, and you see more of it around this time of year with it being dark, is their use of a flashing light on the front of their bike, what the actual fuck!!!!

As the perennially lovely Jennifer Aniston once said:  "Here's the science bit."  The human eyes and brain can't focus quick enough on a 1200 lumen strobe to judge it's speed and distance.  All it sees is a bastard flashing light.  It could be 50ft away at a standstill or 20ft away doing 25mph, it doesn't matter.  I'm sure a flashing light on the front of a vehicle is illegal isn't it?  Time to check that highway code book again, but I'm sure that since the cyclists guilty of such behaviour are saving the planet by cycling and not killing babies or local Stote habitats by using an evil diesel car, then these self righteous wankers have nothing to be afraid of......except maybe being knocked off by someone who's retinas have just burned away by some twats Cannondale with an early 90s rave strobe masquerading as a headlight, clamped to the handlebars. 

SOLID FRONT NIGHT, SAFE AT NIGHT.

That's some marketing/propaganda/public service announcement slogan drivel I just made up, prepare to see on a bus shelter ad soon, but you saw it here first.

Anyway, cyclists, how about riding sensibly, and get a sensible, solid, front light, then I won't have to shout at you anymore.

Part 2 to follow, maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon, and remember....

Be safe, don't be a twat.


Tuesday, 20 November 2018

Hello blogger my old friend

"Hey, it's you, not seen you for ages, you've not been round, or written."

"Yeah, I know.  I've just been busy with doing bits to the house, working, a bit of racing, life stuff, y'know."

"Well that's all well and good but no one reads your old blogs anymore so you must come back and make new ones."

"I know, it's just I'm struggling with a few things lately, I don't need to be having a conversation with a Google owned service and it telling me it needs me or some shit."

"I'm not needy, if you want to leave blogs somewhere else be my guest, I didn't ask you to make an account did I."




No, no one did.

Friday, 31 August 2018

2nd Quarter, and things were on the up

...Except the weather that is, that still sucks.

Hello everyone, all one of you.  Welcome to my blog, nowt interesting has happened recently I'll admit except me feeling a little under the weather and not quite myself, but hopefully, with a change of seasons and a bit of fucking around with the clock, I'll be feeling a bit better pretty soon.

Work is pretty much how it was last time you read, except with an increase in the arse kisser population, the reason for that is that we've joined with the machine shop from the HQ building and been plonked in together in another building altogether.

The Summer house, now has its soffit vents, and a couple of comfy chairs, and that's it.  The glass I put in the door though does not leak and it's now insect free thanks to the fine mesh I used on the vents.

RC racing, not done any still, however, emerging from my pessimistic mental cave,  I have noticed that starting on the 6th of May, there is a race every week for at least 3 weeks, all in different places, starting next week at Torch for round 1 of their summer series.  Shall I charge up the shorties and get the Sworkz S12-m back on duty?  Is that even a question?  Then it's round 2 of the SRS at the mighty Slough, THE home of rallycross in the UK so I was told once.  I missed round 1 due to aforementioned cave dwelling but I did fire up the ol' girl the other week.  Looks like I'll have to give it some kind of wrenching for dirt though as it's currently wearing an "astro" kind of stance.

The bike, The Thunderace, the one that got dragged under a car for about 20ft, while the driver carried on merrily in to The Range carpark with me on his windscreen.  Wow, as of this precise moment, it's sat in the workshop with a gallon and half of super in the tank, waiting for me to book the MOT.
I have to give shout outs to the following though as they've done a sterling job.  Graham at The Image Works www.bike-stickers.com did all the new graphics, including the tank lettering, the colour of which, is an absolute spot bollock on match to Yamahas silver.  If you didn't know better, you would say the lettering was sprayed in at the factory.

Which takes me to another who's well deserving of a mention, and that's Lee at Roosters Voodoo Paint, who sorted my tank.  He is just one guy but does a cracking job.  Buy him a bottle of Rum and he'll see you right.  He rides too so understands how you want the paint to look, he won't just give it a flash over and leave more orange peel than the man from Del Monte on a VitC binge in a darkened room, oh no.  He's also a genuine bloke.  Give him a nosey when you want shit painted and tell him I sent you.



I publish this update while sat in front of my pc with a bad back at the end of August, so the 2nd quarter was a while ago.  I've simply been up to my eyeballs in doing stuff to actually blog anything.  I was even meant to take the finished bike to show Lee at Roosters Voodoo Paint to show him how it all looks but life has been in the way.

I'll do a more recent update soon, and remember, that's how, for now.






Saturday, 3 March 2018

Welcome to 2018

Greetings and salutations, welcome to 2018, which for me so far, has been a 2017 rollover.  Surrounded by muppets, charlatans and wankers and it's only just turned March.  I've not raced since November as that particular meeting (the indoor one) had a number of people in attendance, a few of which simply cheese me off by their mere presence. 

Anyway, I've been working on my house and my woo-sah in the interim, Oh yeah, and my bike, Which doesn't look it's got anywhere but I have done stuff to it, much like the hallway if I'm honest.

The wifes Fibromyalgia continues to be a thorn in the side, mostly her side, obviously, but as  consequence, it results in the fun being sucked out of life on a continual yearly basis. 

Then there's the eldest stepsons father.  What can I say about this bloke that hasn't already been said?  He's a teacher, he's married to a teacher, and they have a spoilt child together.  She doesn't like the stepson, and has been campaigning to get him out of the house (the kid's 15 and autistic) over the course of the last year or so.  He's gone along with it too, with me nearly putting my fist into his ample body and face in the front yard last summer.  Finally, he's managed to turn his nipper against him enough so that his son doesn't actually want to live there.  So he's won on that front.  What makes it difficult, is that looking after an autistic teenager who has personality traits similar to his father is a difficult job and fucking annoying.

I mean, why must you have to remind them that they have to have a shower and clean their teeth everyday?  This is halfway through the day after I've showered, dressed, gone out, and come back, and seen the bathroom exactly how I left it 2 hours earlier, but they're clothed.


Next it's pricks at work, but because I make certain things at Portsmouths worst kept secret I can't tell you a great deal.  Suffice to say, they're similar to most other mid size private companies, where they hire blokes in shirts and letters after their name and a nice piece of paper from a higher place of learning, who know and display considerably less knowledge than the blokes on the shopfloor who have nothing but decades of hardcore experience from the various places they've worked at.  It pisses me off. 
Add to that, arse kissing bastards.  I hate them.

Which is probably why, after all my years, I'm still a normal time served/manual turner/cnc miller/programmer/precision engineer wearing jeans to work.  I don't kiss arse, someone gets my true opinion via my gob.  So, despite my years and skill, some wanker with a brown nose, silver tongue and a mouth full of bullshit will always trump me in the job stakes.


My "summer house" is almost finished.  I say almost, I have to do the soffit vents, insulate it, the glass I picked up today has to go in the door, as well as fitting the beading.  The actual floor is down but not the floor covering, Ie: carpet/laminate/lino etc.  Then of course there's electric to power the lights and whatever else.  That will be channeled in as and when.  I'm doing the patio at the moment then there's a nice lamp post to choose, then the groundwork, then I'll need a sparky. 
I reckon I'll have to an extra fusebox fitted for the outside stuff.  It's probably safer that way.
I'm chuffed though, I built it all myself from timber and it's the first time I've done something like that and it's lasted all winter and been leak free.  Big thanks to Biggsey though, who procured me the fasteners with which to screw the thing together and would've given me an actual hand had he not been going through a shitty time himself.


I was meant to be racing tomorrow for the Clanfield leg of the "Race against cancer" Steve and Bernie Memorial race but both legs have been cancelled due to the weather being a bit pony.
Bernie and Steve were well liked people in the RC racing community who both succumbed to the disease in one form or another late last year.  Bernie was a regular at South Coast RC and before that, Torch.  I have mentioned him a number of times in my previous blogs concerning racing.  Steve was Kevin Brunsdens Dad and all round nice bloke.  I spoke with him a few times and he always had enthusiasm for the hobby/sport but I didn't know him as well as Bernie as he was based around the Reading area so not as local but he was well liked by the guys from up that way, and most of them are sound so he gets my thumbs up.

Alas It's time to say goodnight, but remember, those with cushty jobs aren't always cushty people, sometimes they're utter Wankers.